|Our Youth & Community|
Over 80% of New York City’s 100,000 South Asian youth live in Queens and Brooklyn where SAYA! programs sites are located. Within these two boroughs, a greater percentage of South Asian youth live at or below the federal poverty level ($22,350 for a family of four) compared to youth from all other ethnicities. In Queens 23.1% of South Asian youth live in poverty compared to 18.9% of all other youth, and in Brooklyn 34.8% of South Asian youth live in poverty compared to 31.3% of all other youth.
SAYA!’s target population is low-income South Asian youth who trace their ancestries to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Guyana, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Trinidad. Many are first-generation immigrants or children of immigrants and face challenges that can impede their ability to achieve academic success, graduate high school, and obtain a college education. These challenges include: limited access to safe spaces, pressure to work while in school to supplement family incomes, lack of support systems that recognize their cultural and linguistic barriers, and home cultures in conflict with American culture.